Pearl Harbor Vets honored with Mt. Diablo beacon-lighting ceremony on December 7

Pearl Harbor Vets honored with Mt. Diablo beacon-lighting ceremony on December 7

Pearl Harbor Vets honored with Mt. Diablo beacon-lighting ceremony on December 7
Pearl Harbor survivor Earl “Chuck” Kohler (standing) speaking at the Beacon Lighting Ceremony on December 7, 2018. Photo by Richard Usinger.

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY— Three local survivors of World War II will share their stories on Dec. 7. The virtual ceremony, filmed primarily atop Mount Diablo, marks National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. The day marks the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941—the “Day of Infamy.” The online ceremony begins at 4:30 p.m. P.S.T. on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020.

In a 45-minute video, the three local East Bay survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack will recount their experiences that fateful day. Speakers will then pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives and honor those yet living, “Lest We Forget” the tragedy that befell the country nearly eight decades ago and the way we came together after the attack.

Sponsors of the yearly event include local land trust Save Mount Diablo, California State Parks, Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors Chapter 5, and California State University–East Bay.

As a final tribute, the “Eye of Diablo” Beacon will be lit. The light will shine throughout the night as a tribute to those who served and as a reminder of our strength as a nation when we come together.

A bright tribute

“When that Beacon light is turned on, that’s a tribute to those individuals who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor,” said Pearl Harbor survivor Earl “Chuck” Kohler from Concord.

Save Mount Diablo’s Executive Director Ted Clement noted, “This year it is especially important that we come together as a nation to honor National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. And honor those who served. Reflecting on that day and the aftermath reminds us of the strength of our nation when we come together even amidst great adversity. Our December 7 virtual event will enable more people to come together.”

Eddie Guaracha, California State Parks Diablo Range District Superintendent, stated, “As we reflect on this historic event, it is not only critical to remember the many lives that were lost, but also to remember the selfless acts undertaken by many on this fateful day. This is the spirit of our country in critical times. It is an honor to represent California State Parks on this momentous occasion. And I hope we can all remember to radiate kindness toward one another, as we remember those who gave all on this day.”

Difficult times

“As we pass through difficult, often divisive times ourselves, the sacrifices borne by the American people following that fateful morning some 79 years ago should give us all an enormous sense of pride. And most importantly, hope for the future. Cal State East Bay is honored to once again participate in this annual act of remembrance,” said Robert Phelps, Director of the California State University–East Bay (Concord Campus).

The U.S. Postal Service, in commemoration of this year’s National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, is issuing a special pictorial postmark. The postmark can be obtained by following the instructions here.

Interested in witnessing this year’s virtual Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Ceremony? You can find the video link on Save Mount Diablo’s home page at 4:30 p.m. on December 7 at


Every year since 1964, the Pearl Harbor survivors and their families have memorialized Pearl Harbor Day by relighting the historic Beacon atop Mount Diablo’s summit.

The Beacon was originally lit by Charles Lindbergh in 1928 to assist in the early days of commercial aviation. The Beacon shone from the summit of Mount Diablo each night until December 8, 1941, the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

They did not relight it until December 7, 1964. On that day, Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief of Pacific Forces during World War II, attended a ceremony on Mount Diablo’s summit. The ceremony commemorated survivors of Pearl Harbor. He suggested that the Beacon be lit every December 7 to honor those who served and sacrificed.

Save Mount Diablo, California State Parks, the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors Chapter 5, California State University–East Bay (Concord Campus), and others organize the annual lighting ceremony of the Beacon every December 7 in honor of the National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

Heroes of the pandemic

The Mount Diablo Beacon provides a bright light to the San Francisco Bay Area during this pandemic. Save Mount Diablo staff and volunteers light it every Sunday night until sunrise.

Save Mount Diablo’s lighting of the Beacon every week is a way to thank our heroes in these troubling times. It helps our communities come together. It also reminds people to lift their eyes to the light and nature.

Save Mount Diablo began this weekly lighting of the Beacon on Sunday, April 12. However, the Beacon remained dark on Sunday, Nov. 29 and December 6. Save Mount Diablo will resume the weekly lighting of the Beacon for as long as the pandemic rages here.

Proud Sponsors

Save Mount Diablo

Founded in 1971,  SMD has a mission to preserve Mount Diablo’s peaks, surrounding foothills, and watersheds. The nationally accredited, nonprofit land trust employs land acquisition and preservation strategies.  They aim to protect the mountain’s natural beauty. They also foster biological diversity, and historic and agricultural heritage. This enhances our area’s quality of life. Further, it provides recreational opportunities consistent with the protection of natural resources. Learn more at

California State Parks

CSP provides for the health, inspiration, and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity. They also protect its most valued natural and cultural resources, and create opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. Learn more at

Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors

SDPHS to creates programs that inspire youth and adults to learn and document the history of the beginning of WWII and the days that followed from people who experienced it and from their ancestors. Learn more at

California State University–East Bay

Cal State East Bay welcomes a diverse student body. It supports academically rich, culturally relevant learning experiences. The school prepare students to apply their education to meaningful lifework. Because of this, they also encourage socially responsible contributions to society. Learn more at